Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Rookie Paulo Orlando drove in the go- ahead run with a triple in the eighth inning, as the Kansas City Royals eked out a 6-4 win over the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a three-game series.
Friday's game was a rematch of last year's memorable AL Wild Card showdown won by the Royals in comeback fashion. There was some semblance of that 12-inning thriller in this one, as Kansas City's speed and small-ball came through in the late innings to negate Oakland's power.
The Royals pounded out 15 hits, including three each from Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez, the hero in last year's winner-take-all meeting.
"We're getting it done offensively," Hosmer said. "We're putting good at-bats together."
Perez was also a factor in Friday's outcome, as he led off the deciding eighth with a single off Dan Otero (0-1) before being lifted for the speedy Jarrod Dyson. Orlando then sliced a gapper to right for the fourth triple of his young career.
Omar Infante tacked on a sacrifice fly, and Greg Holland pitched around a two- out walk in the ninth to lock down his fourth save and end the Royals' two- game slide.
Stephen Vogt wen 3-for-4 with a pair of solo homers, and Ike Davis added a solo blast for the A's, who were coming off a series win in Houston.
Neither starter factored in the decision. Kansas City's Jeremy Guthrie allowed four runs in six-plus frames, while Sonny Gray produced a similar line of four runs surrendered on 11 hits over six innings.
After Brett Lawrie's safety squeeze plated the game's first run in the away second, the Royals countered with five consecutive two-out singles in the third to take a 3-1 lead.
Cain started the rally with a base hit, stole second and scored on Hosmer's bloop single down the left-field line. Alex Gordon and Perez each squirted dribblers through the right side to plate a run.
"I made a bunch of good pitches, and everything they hit just seemed to sneak through," Gray said.
Davis and Vogt answered with back-to-back homers in the fourth inning to even things, and Kansas City went back in front on Infante's RBI single in the sixth.
Guthrie was given the hook after serving up Vogt's leadoff homer in the seventh.
After Kelvin Herrera stranded runners on second and third, Wade Davis (2-0) tossed a perfect eighth to pick up the win.
Billy Butler, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Royals, was given a rousing ovation by the capacity crowd at Kauffman Stadium and went 1-for-4 in his first game against his former club. He signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the A's in the offseason ... Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar was helped off the field after suffering a mild sprain to his left knee when Lawrie took him out with a hard slide in the seventh inning ... Cain has a hit in all 10 games this season, has posted three three-hit games and is batting .462.